The following account is contributed by
Thomas Edward Verner of Meadow, Texas, who is a direct
descendant of John Verner, Sr., the progenitor of the
Southern and Western branch of the Verner family. John
Verner Sr. had a son David who fought beside him with
other sons John Jr., George, and James. James was taken
prisoner by the British and died of smallpox in a prison
camp in Charleston S.C. during the American Revolution.
David had a son David Jr. whose son David Derrick grew to
manhood on his father's and grandfather's plantation in
upper S.C. Thomas Jefferson Verner, David Derrick's
brother, left home at the early age of seventeen to
settle in Smith County, Texas in the early 1850's. About
two years later David Derrick married Elizabeth Megarity
of Elbert Co. Georgia. For a few years he engaged in
farming and stock raising in Gerogia, then he moved to
Alabama where his son John Thomas was born Sept. 11,
1858. He moved back to Georgia in 1861 and joined the
Confederate Army where he served until 1864. He then
moved to Fulton Miss. In 1869, he and his brother
Franklin decided to follow their brother to Texas. Their
cousins James Hill Verner and Thomas Eugene, sons of
Caleb and grandsons of David Sr. decided to join them.
They formed a wagon train and headed for Texas. They
arrived in Smith county some six months later. It was
here that Lewis Franklin and his three sons, Finley,
Walter, and Ebenezer, and his brother Thomas Jefferson
and his eight sons lived. James Hill and his brother
Thomas Turpin settled in Delta County.
David Derrick Verner moved after six months from Smith
county to Hill county. Here he and his wife Elizabeth
Megarity and family settled. Their capital was a yoke of
oxens and two little blue mules. They traded the mules
valued at 150 dollars for 640 acres of rich black land.
He prospered in farming and horse raising since horses
were a valuable asset. Those pioneer days were rough,
since the nearest town was fifty miles and the nearest
doctor twenty. There was bountiful food in wild game such
as turkeys and deer. Here they remained until David
Derrick's death in 1877. He was a brave soldier, a good
provider, a loving husband and father, ever mindful of
the protecting hand of God. He delighted in preaching the
Word to new fronteers throughout Texas. During one of his
baptisimal services his young son fell from his perch in
a willow tree and an unexpected emersion took place. He
was never without his Bible even when he went to war.
After the death of David Derrick Verner his two sons
Howell Pierce and William David died of peneumonia
(1880). This left his wife and son John Thomas and
daughter Amey Suella. John Thomas operated a wagon
freight line from Hillshore to Cleburn for several years.
In the early 1800 the Denver-Fortworth railroad
construction began. These three worked together operating
a commissary and cooking for the crew. They returned to
Wise County where John Thomas fell in love and married
Mira Lucretia Norris in 1891. Here they remained until
1894 and then moved to Fort Sill Indian Teritory where he
took up construction work again. They soon moved on to
Bandera county in South Texas, by wagon train. In about
six months they moved again to a few miles west of Fort
Worth. Here he engaged in farming and stock raising until
1909. His next move was to Wichita Falls to the oil boom
country. Another oil boom attracted him to Hogtown after
he had left Wichita Falls for a short stay in
Stephensville. This was called the boom of Desdamonia.
These different moves helped him to pick up extra cash.
At the age of sixty-two he headed west and settled in
Because of circumstances John Thomas Verner did not have
the privilege of acquiring an education but his keen
sense of value and cost managed to keep his family from
want. He was a grand old Christian character who spent
his last years doing the thing he loved most, farming. In
1952 he passed to his great reward at the age of 94.